Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 12

On April 16, the Procurator General of Russia, Vladimir Ustinov, invited several leading Russian human rights activists in for a discussion of issues of mutual concern. According to Oleg Orlov, chair of the human rights center Memorial, who attended the meeting, one of the issues discussed at length was Chechnya. “I spoke basically about Chechnya,” Orlov related, “Vladimir Ustinov agreed with me that it was necessary to increase the number of procurators in this republic but said that, in order to accomplish that, it was necessary to seek out the necessary funds; presently they do not exist.” The legality or lack thereof of the actions of federal troops conducting special operations in Chechnya was another of the topics discussed. Orlov asserted that the military are presently conducting unsanctioned searches of homes and taking away people whose juridical status has not been determined to filtration camps. It was agreed to hold another meeting on this subject with Ustinov in a month’s time (, April 16).

On April 10, the New York-based Human Rights Watch issued a statement in which it charged that “Russian forces have raped and sexually assaulted women during winter operations in Chechnya. Five women have told Human Rights Watch researchers about incidents of sexual violence they endured earlier this year. Three of the women tried to report the assaults to local authorities who refused to investigate the allegations” (, April 10).